We talk so often about people being unstable in terms of their mental health and needing urgent help. We see what happens when people in desperate need of mental health assistance begin to offend. Yet, New Zealand cuts their funding, cuts the services that might save their lives, save New Zealand from another innocent person being raped/murdered/etc by someone whose mind is shot. And now, in 2017 I tell you about a case that I have been casually tracking vis-a-vis the media for the last couple of years. It is about a woman who at first I thought was just a a disgusting woman with a sick perversion towards young boys, but now I honestly think she needs mental health assistance and fast.
The re-emergence of Margaret Dodd in the media should be of significant concern not only to people who are parents of young children, but to health authorities as well. After a jail period of several months, a lady who has been banned from numerous schools, parks and other public areas, is once again being found loitering around areas with young children, particularly young boys. Her case is not new. This began as much as 2 or 3 years ago. The lady involved is in her 50’s or early 60’s and – much to the chagrin of the police, public and schools alike – she cannot really be touched for one reason or another, and yet, the danger she poses should set alarm bells ringing in every school in her vicinity.
But is Margaret Dodd actually a serious danger? There is no doubt that she has a major problem with boys, especially those of pre-pubescent age. There is no doubt that she has posed a risk to them by constantly being around them in ways any parent would find profoundly disturbing. But – and we could all be wrong here – something in the normal sense of someone being seriously in need of being locked up is not quite adding up.
The very sad and ugly truth about mental health in New Zealand is that people are committing violent or potentially violent offences in order to get themselves noticed by officials. Driven to desperation from continually being turned away, their ability to articulate their issue matched and in too many cases overtaken by the deaf, totally mute mental welfare system, they turn to crime. Their lives are spiralling out of control, out the ability of friends and loved ones to help, who find themselves recoiling at what has happened to a person who in the past might have been among their nearest and dearest.
Whilst I am concerned in no uncertain terms about what Margaret Dodd may be up to, she strikes me as someone who may have back ground issues. And this is where things become quite alarmiing. Margaret Dodd has shown no understanding, remorse or anything else that might suggest she migh know the implications of what she is doing. And yet her offences seem to be accelerating. Going to jail seems to have done nothing at all for her – or anyone else
I am NOT defending Margaret Dodd. If she is a cunning calculating paedophile or other offender who is simply playing the system, she needs to go away for a long time.
But what if she is genuinely not able to understand what she has done? What if she is genuinely mentally ill and needs help?
Jail with a bunch of other criminals sure ain’t gonna help that. So let us assess Margaret Dodd. Is this lady who has been harassing Christchurch schools, parks and other public places an actual menace or someone screaming for help because social agencies have once again failed to spot the warning signs?